You Don't Have to Learn the Hard Way
J.R. Parrish
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Buy *You Don't Have to Learn the Hard Way: Making It in the Real World - A Guide for Graduates* by J.R. Parrish online

You Don't Have to Learn the Hard Way: Making It in the Real World - A Guide for Graduates
J.R. Parrish
BenBella Books
224 pages
March 2009
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Author J.R. Parrish went from being a milkman to being an owner of a prosperous commercial real estate company and a multimillionaire. He has written this self-help manual for adults and grads to show how the business world, relationships, and parenting work.

Divided into six densely packed sections, the book gives practical advice on educational, behavioral, social, emotional and spiritual principles people need to not make mistakes in their lives. (The only thing not included is a section on nutrition, but I guess he couldn’t cover everything.) One of his main premises of success is showing others you respect them, wish them well, and want to help them. But he not only tells the premise: he gives examples of the many different ways in which this particular premise pops up in all aspects of dating, career, finances. He aims to teach the reader the many ways behaviors should change if the reader is to succeed, and to show how the external business and financial worlds are connected to a person’s inner life. Success or failure comes from learning certain basic truths – really learning them deep within– and becoming so changed by these truths that the externals of one’s life change.

You Don't Have to Learn the Hard Way shows how to change and build our character, how to react to business and relationship situations in an objective way with tried-and-true lessons. It shows the readers the challenges in the world and the obstacles within a young person that they will have to confront when they are in the world. One might say that Parrish shows the virtue of the virtues. Many people know that there are certain rules they should live by, but they consider these rules unimportant or secondary to real life. Other people don’t know the rules at all. Parrish shows that these virtues – learning to praise and appreciate others, learning to care for the needs of others, mastering emotions, committing to industriousness, understanding the dynamics of risk-taking – all are practical helps in having a successful life.

The chapters have quizzes and examples which help to show the efficacy of these truths. The quizzes also allow readers to examine themselves by pondering the information in each chapter.

College students and business majors would benefit from this book. It’s an easy read with small sub-chapters, an honest conversational style, and a lot of information. But for those who don’t wish to see Parrish as an ally - how many of us have had a multimillionaire tell us what to do to make our lives successful? – the book might be a more difficult read. Parrish obviously understands life and business, but some of these suggestions require a real commitment to changing one’s self. I suppose the tools in this book can be used without any inner change. People can always pretend to care about their customers and other people in their lives. But anyone who only learns to play at “seeming respectful” instead of actually allowing themselves to be changed by the lessons will be doing themselves a disservice. Parrish has written an all-in-one book that would be a help for any graduate who wishes to read it and to use its wisdom. Highly recommended.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Carole McDonnell, 2010

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